Interesting day. People seem tired and cranky and out of sorts. The moon, I imagine. I’ve been a little off kilter, emotionally, too, but not too bad.

Last night, My Gift came down from school and cooked a special Valentines meal for The Frenchman. I supervised, as she doesn’t do much cooking. All turned out marvelously, and I retired when he showed up at 8:30. I was asleep by 9 PM. And slept in until 7 AM. That should be good, right, seeing as I consider myself self-deprived? As it turns out, I just felt kind of sluggish and headachey. Maybe this 8 hours of sleep business is a big scam. Maybe the 6-7 that I usually get is just fine.

Practice was lovely. I talked with Sanskrit Scholar a bit before practice started. Told her that last week, I placed my mat exactly where I thought I would get a supta kurmasana adjustment. Volleyball Guy works his way around the room, giving each person an adjustment, and I was playing the odds that I could get the one I wanted. Which, indeed, is exactly what happened. Interestingly enough, I mostly ended up feeling like it wasn’t a “win,” like I was over-manipulating the situation. Sanskrit Scholar laughed when I told her about it. My smarts are sometimes my biggest downfall.

So today I put my mat down in a nice little spot and didn’t try to figure out what I’d get as my adjustment reward. The British Director was to my right, and The Big Guy was to my left. Practice goes along and I hear Volleyball Guy getting closer and closer, pose by pose. Ah, The British Director gets an adjustment for Marichyasana B. It occurs to me that Volleyball Guy may pass me by to give The Big Guy a hand in Marichy C, then double back for me on D. And so it was.

And what an adjustment. The single best adjustment I’ve ever had. I love Ashtanga, in part because of how it’s taught. My professional background is in educational technologies (how you teach people, and how people best learn) and of course a lot of my work involves the most cutting edge technologies (education for mobile devices, webconferencing, wikis, etc.). But you know, there is NOTHING like teaching people one-on-one.

The room was nice and toasty and the wrist grab wasn’t really tough. Volleyball Guy helped a little, but then he really twisted me, and at the same time, took the fingertips of my wrapping hand (not the grabbing one) and pushed them to grab my lotus shin. Which I could then pull against a bit to get even deeper into the pose. No words at all. Just me in this crazy, unfathomable kinesthetic experience, suddenly feeling my shin with my fingertips and going, “Oh, I get it!” in my mind. Seriously, you just can’t beat that. Teaching at its very best.

The other thing I love about Volleyball Guy is his patience. I know he’s shown me millions of things that I just didn’t “get” at the time. He doesn’t belabor the point at all. He’ll just teach it to me again another day, and perhaps I’ll get it that time. And if not, well, we’ll try again another time.

I learn best by reading (hence my ridiculously large Ashtanga library). Of course, in the end you just have to DO it, but I understand more when I see things in written form. Volleyball Guy, on the other hand, is a kinesthetic learner, like many (and maybe most, I suspect) athletes. He could be really irritated with a student who has to process kinesthetic information so much more slowly than he does — but he’s not. I really appreciate that.

Okay, the other amusement was dropbacks. I was doing some of the hanging back exercises after urdhva dhanurasana and I heard Volleyball Guy say to The British Director, “Help her. She just needs a finger on her lower back.” So The British Director did the “I’ll catch you at the very end if you need it” dropback assist. It’s such fun. I’m a little unnerved at the thought of doing it with no one standing by, but I’m sure it’ll all work out in time. Volleyball Guy came by and said, “You’ll get it next week,” presumably meaning totally unassisted dropbacks. I am so excited about it, because I love the droppy feeling. It is that same gravity feeling as falling when climbing, only upside down. My climbing falls were almost always feet first, except for a few head-first falls from overhangs, which scared the heck out of me. But I have to admit that I just love to feel the pull of gravity.

It reminds me of a bumpersticker I saw on a car at one of my old climbing hang-outs: “Gravity — not just a good idea. It’s the law.”


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